May 8, 2020
Let’s say you made a terrible financial decision, or jumped a red light and totaled your car, or neglected a lump and now face grueling chemo. How do you recover?
You can try gratitude, perhaps grateful I didn’t lose it all, have insurance that will replace my car, and have a healthy body that can stand the chemo. Gratitude, however, provides only partial comfort and isn’t the first place to start.
In these situations, focus on your intentions. You never intended to lose the money, total the car, or delay the diagnosis. Assuming this is true, start with self-compassion.
Ask yourself: Am I the only one who has ever done this, or do thousands of people commit these mistakes every day? Focusing on your intentions and not the outcome and looking at yourself with the eyes of someone who loves you unconditionally, will help you be self-compassionate.
Self-compassion will help you walk toward self-forgiveness. Eventually, you might find meaning. Perhaps, this accident might remind you to be a better driver, preventing a worse future accident with kids inside the car. While this may be just your imagination, a perspective that helps you find meaning in the hurtful past helps with healing. It takes you toward acceptance.
Acceptance is creatively working with what is. Acceptance stops the fight with the self, saving tremendous energy to focus on the primary issue at hand.
In this journey, talking to loved ones who are caring and wise, taking a right professional help, and thinking of faith – all can help.
Finally, a few deep breaths are also a great idea – to flush away the adrenaline.
I have used all of the above in working with different adverse life situations, including the present crisis.
In summary, when dealing with the results of a bad judgment, instead of starting with gratitude, begin with self-compassion, and then progress at your pace.